330,000 voters register so far for June Libya poll

AFP , Sunday 6 May 2012

The number of Libyan voters who registered so far is a positive indicator for a good turnout in the country's upcoming constituent assembly elections, says electoral commission chief

The chief of Libya's election commission said on Sunday that 330,000 people have so far registered as voters to elect the nation's first constituent assembly in June.

"The number of voters registered by yesterday (Saturday) evening is 330,000," Nuri al-Abbar told a news conference in Tripoli.

Abbar said that the number was a "positive indicator" that an increasing number of citizens would register as voters at 1,473 centres nationwide.

Voter registration began on Tuesday and is expected to continue for two weeks.

Abbar said Libyans abroad in countries such as Britain, Canada, Germany, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the United States and will be able to vote in the country's embassies there.

He also said registration centres will be opened for displaced Libyans in the cities where they now reside. Thousands of people were uprooted across the country during last year's conflict.

The election for the assembly is the first such poll in Libya after four decades of dictatorship under Moamer Kadhafi who was ousted and killed in the 2011 revolt.

Abbar said the date of the election was still to be fixed, but added that the deadline adopted by a constitutional declaration of the ruling National Transitional Council will be "respected."

Under the constitutional declaration the election for the constituent assembly will be held in June.

Libya has six million residents, among them 3.4 million potential voters, according to the election commission.

The 200-member assembly when elected will appoint a committee of experts to write a draft constitution which will then be submitted to a national referendum.

A total of 120 seats in the assembly are reserved for independent candidates, while the remaining 80 are open to political parties.

Dozens of political parties have been formed in recent months.

Since the start of the Arab Spring uprisings in several countries, elections have mostly benefited Islamists. The same trend is expected in Libya, which often projects itself as a moderate Muslim nation.

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